On June 29, House Republican Leader John Boehner made news with his statement that the age for persons eligible for Social Security benefits should be raised from 65 to 70. "If you have substantial non-Social Security income while you're retired, why are we paying you at a time when we're broke?" the Congressman said.
Susan Murany, Executive Director of the Gray Panthers, states that her organization opposes such a move. "Instead of taking money from people who need it and raising the eligibility for Social Security benefits to age 70 to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security recipients -- people who need it the most -- changes could be made by eliminating the annual cap on taxable income, currently $106,800, and raise that cap so that wealthier people are paying more to Social Security," she suggests. According to Ezra Klein at washingtonpost.com, June 2010, "Completely eliminating the cap without increasing benefits actually creates a long-term surplus, and eliminating the cap while increasing benefits comes close."
And although House Republican Leader Boehner feels that Americans have "substantial non-Social Security income in retirement," the data proves him wrong. According to Dean Baker and David Rosnick from the Monthly Review, "Since the vast majority of near-retirees will rely on Social Security for the vast majority of their income in retirement, cuts in Social Security imply large cuts in income for a population that is already not especially wealthy. (Median household income for people over age 65 is less than $30,000.)" According to the Social Security Administration in the year 2000, 40 percent of retirement income comes from Social Security, with women especially dependent on Social Security.